DENVER — Several dozen people marched through Denver Monday morning to remember the victims of domestic violence and the survivors who still carry the pain today.
The march, as part of National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, began at the Rose Andom Center and ended at the steps of the City and County of Denver building.
Among the crowd was domestic violence survivor Krystal Ryan.
“There's resources that I didn't know that we had, and, so, I decided to be that voice, to let people know,” she said.
She escaped from the hands of her abuser more than a decade ago. City leaders, including Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock, celebrated her bravery and thanked her for being a face and voice of domestic violence awareness.
“If you had to tell me 14 years ago that I would be standing here today, with support from the city and county of Denver officials, I would tell you, 'You're darn right,’ because I'm just that strong,” Ryan said. “To my former abuser, thank you. Your scars did not hinder me. Your scars did not stop me. What they did was made me strong.”
For some victims and their family members, Ryan’s story serves as an inspiration to not wait and seek help.
“I'm out here because we didn't have the ending to our story that we were ever anticipating or wanting,” Pamela Ramirez said.
She lost her god-sister, Angela Elizondo, in 2019. Elizondo’s ex-boyfriend was charged in Wyoming with killing her, but he was later found unfit to stand trial, so the case was dismissed.
“I'm here because I just told myself after this process I wanted to take something that was really hard and ugly and turn it into something that was progressive for her,” Ramirez said. “I think that she would be happy that I'm giving a voice and standing up.”
And while it may be too late for some, these survivors hope their power in numbers sends a strong message home that there are resources out there so that not one more person becomes a victim to domestic violence.
To learn more about the warning signs of domestic violence and about the resources and services the Rose Andom Center provides, click here.